Plan Your Writing #writetips

Hi everyone!

Here in north India the winters are in full swing. Of course, they are not to be compared with the snow and sub zero temperature zones, but still enough to slow down the pace. I think winters are ideal to get some more of writing time put in. The long evenings when you don’t feel like going out can be adjusted for lots of reading and writing. Do you agree?

So let me ask you. Do you plan your writing? I think planning is a big and important part of adding pace to your work in progress. We can sit down and randomly get down words – and they may be brilliant. But it is comforting and definitely good for your blood pressure if you know you have everything under control including the required writing time for your novel.

How can you plan to write?

First, a good prepping is conducive to writing. Charge your laptop or sharpen your pencils, whatever you like to do. Clean up your desk top and organise your work space. Just the act of making sure you’re ready is enough to put you in the mood to write.

Prepping can include having your favourite beverage at your side. How inviting the atmosphere will be then! The wordsmith in you will not be able to resist it.

Second, know your limit. You should know some goal or scene towards which you’ll be writing. If you’re beginning, you should know your inciting incident. If you’re in the middle, you should know which important point comes next. You can overshoot the mark and write on, but you should know in which direction you’re aiming.

Third, leave research for another time. If you want to get the most out of your writing, don’t stall the flow by pausing to dive into the minutiae. You want to build the current and keep the word count ticking. Either do your research before hand and have your notes handy. Or put a mark where in-depth details are needed and get back to it later.

So, these are the key points in planning your writing time. Do you want to add any more? I would love to hear in the comments.

Happy writing!

Advertisements

Guest post at Romance University blog – Get Physical With Your Work-in-Progress (and Not Mental)

Write in present. Don’t look too far ahead in your book. Here’s an excerpt from my guest post at Romance University where I explore this subject.
………..
The story that you write is usually something that means a lot to you. You put in your time and invest emotions in it to create it. It is your passion. For people who work on one project, it’s the main subject dominating their thoughts during that time. They might even eat, drink and sleep their work in progress, so to speak. Are you like that with your work? Yes? Then read on to find out what you’re doing wrong.

While we are engaged mentally and emotionally with our wip, we sometimes tend to get too close to it. We miss the development and evolvement of the story. You might argue that the development is in your hands as a writer. True, but in every story, the growth also depends on the characters. A major part of what makes the plot move forward is how your character reacts to obstacles. We can’t go on and impose just any storyline on the characters. When we do, it starts to feel wrong. Our hands falter at the keyboard. Writing becomes wooden. We might even develop a fear of writing. This can lead to a block which progresses to an extent when we can’t even think of working on the project.

Why did this happen? Let’s see.

When you begin a project, you are excited and poised at the brink of new discovery. At that time, you couldn’t stop thinking of it. The first chapter is written and it feels like a miraculous accomplishment. You go on to plan what would happen in the second one as you close the laptop and push back the chair. As you wander out of the room and reminded by the grumbling of your stomach, you set to conjure lunch, you’re still mulling on it. In plotting the third chapter, you hit a road block when you don’t know, for instance, how H/h will meet again. But as you peel potatoes, you hit upon an idea. Why not have them stumble in the restaurant? You slice veggies and nod slowly. Yes, they both love pastry and so go to buy it at the same shop. By now, you have their conversation in your head. You’re smiling, picturing the dialogue printed in the book. A few interruptions later, you get another moment free, say, doing the ironing. Hands engaged, mind free i.e. HEMF and you get to it again. You are halfway through the story now, trying to think up the details of the black moment.

By nightfall, you have the hea or the resolution – as the case may be – wholly charted out.
Next morning you open the ms…and you can’t write a darn word.

Why… how…what? You’re not able to pin down the reason but suddenly the story that had you on your toes, seems as delicious as the lunch that you partially burnt up while thinking of it.

The thing is you lost the spirit and soul of discovery.

That’s why you should get physical with your wip.

Mental wrestling is ok when you have a difficult scene which needs minute details to be logical. But never for plotting the story.

The surprise is gone. You need the feeling of the fresh and new to keep writing.

That isn’t the only problem with thinking ahead. When you run forward mentally, you are charting out the progress of the story, keeping in mind those characters with whom you began the story. But as you write, the characters must undergo a change. 
Read more at:
http://romanceuniversity.org/2015/08/10/get-physical-with-your-work-in-progress-and-not-mental-by-summerita-rhayne

Five pointers for your perfect chapter #writetips

Hi people! Here’s a guest post I did for writer friend Maya Tyler about how I judge what is a perfect chapter. The excerpts are from my wip Tahir and Samara’s story. I’ve put them in bold.

Guest Post from author Summerita Rhayne

Guest week concludes with a post from the talented Summerita Rhayne with some writing pointers. Enjoy! 

 

Five pointers for your perfect chapter #writetips

 

Hi Maya, thanks for inviting me to your blog. Lovely to be here. Today I’m feeling rather pleased with myself and I’d like to share why.

Often writing is full of setbacks and frustrations. Characters veering away from the story. Dialogue dragging. Descriptions ballooning into essays…we have a phrase in India – sleeping, weeping and eating (sona rona khana) can be stretched any length and so can the descriptions. You name it, you got it. All writers know, the troubles are innumerable. And let’s not even mention the pov woes. Sometimes I have started on a character’s pov and nearly written almost a whole book. Some characters have lots of internal dialogue 😉

But then there’s the rewarding aspect of writing. When you go back and read something you have written and it’s perfect. You know when your writing says exactly what you want to say in the same tone and without the description of it taking away from the flow of the story. That moment is what you write for! This happened with me yesterday. I was reading a book and as usual comparing myself to the writer and bringing myself down. Thinking I could never get to THE point. Then I closed the book, in a woeful mood and began to reread the work in progress. I came across what is at present chapter seven. And voilà it was there. I had written a perfect chapter. One that satisfied my logic seeking mind and also was re-readable. There are parts in my ms which I like, love or hate and some which could be done better (thank God I’m editing) but this one I’m not going to retouch.

 

So how do I measure perfection?

Here are the things I look for in a perfect chapter.

 

1) Pace

This is the absolute, foremost must for me. If the story drags, reading slows down and becomes weighty to the reader. In this, dialogue is a handy tool. Smart dialogue sprinkled with what action characters are doing, adds to the pace.

Here’s an excerpt from the chapter I’m currently liking too much (no knowing tomorrow it may show up some flaw 😉 I like the way the dialogue adds pace to the reading. Do you agree?

‘Samara. Inside. Now.’ Tahir paused a nanosecond near her desk on his way to his office to deliver the imperative.

There was no reason her hackles should rise, she was used to his brusque ways, wasn’t she? 
‘I’ll just finish typing this letter and come.’

‘I said this instant.’ A sharp tap of a blunt index finger on the glass top of her table punctuated the words. He didn’t wait for her response, striding off beyond his office door.

 

2) Conciseness Next thing I work on is brevity. This is a bit tricky because you need to write the necessary action without being clipped. I’d say for emotional reaction, just show small changes in facial expressions or some telling gesture relatable to the character. You want to show anger? Write terse, pithy phrases. Want to show surprise? Just have your character drop something.

Here’s another snippet in which the hero’s mood is conveyed through short pithy phrases.

‘Have you prepared the due diligence report I asked you to?’

‘It’s in my drawer.’ 

‘What’s it doing there? Laying eggs? Why don’t I have it?’
‘Because you hadn’t asked for it.’ Mutiny sparked through her, her pulse rate increasing as she waited for his reaction, sure he would come up with something sarcastic.
He didn’t disappoint. ‘So I have to ask before you’ll do your work?’ His tone was loaded with sarcasm, as soothing to sensitive nerves as a needle bed.

 

3) Description without detraction This is just a follow-on from the above point. Since we don’t want to just leave the reader scratching their head, some description is necessary. Just stay close to what is needed. If we want to feel the breeze, focus on a single object like your heroines hair whipping across her neck, rather than describe the effect on each and every thing the wind is blowing at in the scene.

Soon they were weaving out of Delhi traffic. He turned on the road to Manesar. She slid up her sun glasses, attempting to enjoy the breeze on the open road, finding her eyes straying to him as he leaned back, handling the controls with ease, looking deadly with those aviators and those spikes. Thank God he couldn’t see behind her glasses.

 

4) Show characters’ motivation and emotional state without passive telling Does your chapter focus on their behaviour in synchrony with their internalization? If your heroine is tired, does she misplace things? Put the cookie jar lid on the mixer instead?

In this portion, the beating of his pulse is the external sign of his anger.

‘Do I pay you to cross-question me?’ His brows lifted in what looked like mildly inquiring expression but she could see by the pulse that beat at his jaw that she’d angered him. This man was living breathing fire. She didn’t want to get in the way of his blast.

Or maybe she did.

‘It isn’t easy when you keep on trying to find fault in everything I do.’ She told him, meeting his glance.

 

5) Interaction between the characters propels the scene forward  A punch should mark the end. Something you need to establish or change or the charcaters react to. A chapter – not even a first one – can’t just be there to set the stage for your story. Have the characters act the change or react to the change.

A short time later they descended the lift and came out on the compound. Samara hesitated as he led the way to his silver Audi. She knew he drove it himself. It wasn’t that she hadn’t been in the car with him before but on those occasions they had been in the backseat discussing work. Driving with him seemed much more informal somehow.

‘Let’s go.’ Tahir directed.
‘But the team?’ Maybe she could travel in the company car.   
‘They’ve left. I just feel like a drive today. Why are you hesitating, Samara?’ He moved to the driver’s side, a sudden edge appearing to the apparent soft voice, ‘Not afraid to be in the car with me, are you?’ His drawl sent her hackles up, combined as it was with a mocking grin. 
‘Of course not. It just feels odd to be driven by my boss.’ she said coolly and climbed in beside him, determined not to give him anything to get hold of. 
  She drew her legs in and shut the door, her skirt riding up in the process. ‘Aren’t you wearing your skirt shorter than usual?’ She’d been about to draw it down but now she resisted the urge out of a mutinous impulse she hadn’t known she could have. It arose from the censorious tone he’d used. And the deliberately personal nature of the comment. 
‘I don’t see it’s any business of yours.’    
‘So it wasn’t for my benefit?’ he fired the car and soon they were turning out of the gates.

 

So this is my take on the necessary ingredients to whip up a pefect mousse of a chapter J

Since I don’t often feel like this about my writing, this chapter did a huge uplifting of my spirits…Read more on Maya’s blog